Gianni Infantino: Fifa is now 'synonymous with credibility' under his presidency

Second term for Infantino after he is re-elected unopposed in Paris

Gianni Infantino has got a second term as Fifa president. EPA
Gianni Infantino has got a second term as Fifa president. EPA

Gianni Infantino said Wednesday he had turned Fifa into an organisation "synonymous with credibility" as he was re-elected for a second term as president of world football's governing body.

It was a formality that the 49 year-old would be waved through for a new four-year mandate, until 2023, as he stood unopposed at the Fifa Congress in Paris.

The Fifa Council chose to back his re-election by acclamation, with Infantino now hoping to build on the work he started in February 2016, when he was voted in to succeed the disgraced Sepp Blatter at the head of the organisation.

Eager to "open up" and "globalise" the game, he will now push ahead with already approved plans to expand the Club World Cup to 24 teams, and with his ambition of expanding the World Cup itself to 48 teams which is set to happen in 2026.

As he addressed the 211 members of the Congress in the French capital, where the Women's World Cup begins on Friday, Infantino claimed credit for the success of the 2018 men's World Cup in Russia, the "transparent" bidding process for the 2026 tournament and the introduction of Video Assistant Referees into the game.

He said he was now at the head of "a new Fifa, an organisation that is synonymous with credibility, confidence, integrity."

"Today nobody talks about crises, nobody talks about rebuilding Fifa from scratch, nobody talks about scandals, nobody talks about corruption, we talk about football," insisted the Swiss-Italian lawyer, formerly secretary general of European governing body Uefa.

"My philosophy as Fifa president is one of openness and as long as I am president of Fifa I will push as hard as I can to have more global worldwide competitions, possibilities, openness for everyone to be able to play," he said.

"The more we are open, the more we do, the better it is."

Infantino previously worked closely with Michel Platini, but the suspended ex-head of Uefa this week attacked the Fifa chief, saying he had "no legitimacy" and accusing him of having mocked women's football.

However, Infantino pointed to the appointment of Senegal's Fatma Samoura as Secretary General and to the fact that women now made up 20 percent of all those involved in FIFA Committees as he defended his work done in that area.

"It is only 20 per cent, but before it was four per cent. We need to be better, we will be, but we start, we move, we progress," he said.

"The Women's World Cup in France this year we will have the explosion of women's football," he added.

That tournament will begin on Friday when hosts France play South Korea in Paris, and will run until July 7.

Published: June 5, 2019 06:46 PM

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